What is domestic abuse and violence?
The government definition of domestic violence and abuse is:
Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
- Controlling behaviour
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Abuse is not normal or acceptable. A caring relationship should make you feel loved, respected, safe and free to be yourself. Domestic abuse and social isolation rob people of their confidence, self esteem and their hope for the future. An abusive relationship can make you feel scared, controlled and intimidated. If you think you are suffering from domestic abuse then you probably are.
Domestic abuse does not only happen between male and female partners, it can happen to anyone in an intimate or family type relationship.
Women’s Aid Chatline
Online chat now available
Women’s Aid have launched a message service online. Open Monday to Friday, 10:00am - 12:00pm. chat.womensaid.org.uk/
*If you think you might be in danger, call the police immediately on 999
The Silent Solution - 999
There is a system in place for victims of domestic abuse who might be afraid of further danger and escalation of harm if they are overheard when calling 999 in an emergency. When somebody calls 999, an operator will ask which emergency service is required. If the caller is unable to audibly signal to the operator, the call will be forwarded to an operating system. If 55 is pressed by the caller, the system will detect this. The operator will then transfer the call to the relevant police force as an emergency.
Office for Police Conduct guidance
Help and support
In Brentwood, Safer Places provides the domestic abuse support services, They offer a comprehensive range of services for everyone; both for men and women and their children, support for those of all ages, those who are from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex (LGBTQI) community, or who are Black, Minority, Ethnic or Refugee (BMER). Their aim is to ensure the safety, improve the quality of life and reduce repeat victimisation of adults and children fleeing from or living with domestic abuse.
Safer Places can offer safe accommodation for those who need it; single women and for those with children, accommodation suitable for disabled people, for men and their children and for those with complex needs.
Safer Places offer a range of different support services:
- Emotional support, counselling and specialist programmes
- Drop-ins and one to one support
- Practical support, advice and signposting
- Safety Planning
- Support within the community
- Safe accommodation/respite if you need to leave your home
- Free legal advice
- Opportunities for volunteering, training and employment
- Support for family members
For advice, support, information, refuge accommodation call 03301 025811 or visit the Safer Places website www.saferplaces.co.uk
If you, or a member of your family, are threatened with homelessness because of actual or threatened domestic abuse, please use the housing advice form below or telephone us on 01277 312500.
Apply for housing assistance
Whilst we recognise that victims of domestic abuse would prefer to remain in the current area that they reside in, it is highly recommended that you approach an area or authority that you have no known local connection to ensure your future safety for you and your family.
Our housing advice staff have been trained to respond sympathetically and give advice on your housing options. When approaching the council you have the right to request an interview by an officer of the same sex if you so wish.
We will need to make appropriate enquiries and obtain information from the police, your GP or any other agency involved. It is a good idea to keep written records of what has happened, as this will support your case.
Whilst enquiries are being carried out, we will assist you with finding refuge accommodation which may be anywhere in the county. This is to ensure your safety and to ensure you receive the ongoing specialist support and guidance you will need during this difficult time. Many victims appreciate the support of safe accommodations during this time. Safer Places can help, and we would encourage you to approach them directly..
You can approach any council that you wish to help you with housing. If you have no local connection with the council that you approach then you may be referred to a council where you do have a local connection, but it can't be to an area where you would be at risk.
If you have made the decision to leave an abusive relationship try to take the following with you:
- Proof of identity for yourself ie, passport, driving licence, birth certificate
- Any supporting evidence, ie police incident reference numbers, support agencies, court documents or evidence such as threatening text messages/letters etc.
- Birth certificates and proof of child benefit for your children
- Clothes for yourself and your children
- Medical cards
- National Insurance number
- Proof of residency (i.e., where you have been living)
- Mortgage/tenancy details
- House keys
If you are in immediate danger, just leave or call the Police
There is more information available on the Essex Safeguarding Adults Board website which also has a directory of support services.